Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Tour + Review: Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith

Wicked Designs 
By Lauren Smith
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Blog Tour
Summary: The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books. 

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love. 

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without. 

Product Warnings:
This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

Review: I feel like the cover is the first thing I talk about every time I review a book, but I can't help but obsess over this one! I absolutely love the colors and it hints at the wicked historical romance held inside. And what a great historical romance it was. 

The members of the League of Rogues are used to doing what they want, but when they kidnap Emily Parr in order to punish her uncle for misusing Godric's investments, Emily isn't ready to let them get away with it. With her feisty attitude and persistence, Emily will do anything to escape the clutches of the five men who kidnapped her. But Godric isn't a normal kidnapper, and Emily finds herself falling for the man who constantly slings her over his shoulder when she acts up and has quite the naughty reputation. As the two spend more time together, Emily discovers his hidden past and finds they may have more in common than she thought…

I've never heard of Lauren Smith before, but boy does she know how to write a good historical romance! From the first page, you're thrown into Emily's kidnapping and her putting up quite the fight against the five rogues who take her. Emily is such a feisty character and I love how she's a go-out-and-get-them kind of girl instead of helplessly whining once she got kidnapped. I couldn't wait to see what Emily would do next, or what she decided to do once she started falling for Godric. 

Godric was quite the male lead for this novel. He had this bad boy, rogue exterior but he had some pretty deep secrets that showed a whole other side of him. Then, when he started to have feelings for Emily, it was so cute how he couldn't stand being away from her. Godric and Emily created the perfect couple for a thrilling romance full of kidnapping, stolen kisses, and a few attempted murders. 

Not only were the main characters great, but you also go to see a whole lot of the other four members of the League of Rogues. Each of them are so lovable in their own way, and I loved how their individual personalities showed throughout the story. I'm excited to see who the author chooses to write about in the next book of this series. I know I'll definitely be picking it up for yet another enticing historical romance about these devilishly handsome rogues.

For more info on Lauren Smith and her newest book Wicked Designs, check out the following links:  

Goodreads // Amazon // B&N // Website // Twitter // Facebook

Enter the tour-wide giveaway! Lauren is giving away of Wicked Designs!

Follow the Tour
January 28: Cocktails and Books
January 29: Alexa Loves Books
January 31: Peace Love Books
February 4: Gone Pecan

Follow My Book Blog Friday (121)

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Question: Time for book spine poetry again! Take a picture of you book spines spelling out something epic. 

Answer: Well, since I pretty much read only romance, I couldn't help but come up with a romantic poem with my spines. Here it is…

Used to be
Not exactly a love story
Starting now
Pushing the limits
Come to me quietly

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay
By Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Review: I've been wanting to read this book for while now, but I knew that I had to be in a serious mood to read it. Based on the summary, it seemed like this one would have a lot to do with dealing with suicide and handling the grief and guilt that follows. 

The last thing Emily expects is for her boyfriend to come into the school library with a loaded gun and ultimately kill himself. Ridden with grief and guilt, Emily leaves for Boston and is sent to an all girls boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts. There, Emily discovers the legacy of Emily Dickinson, who had attended the school many years ago. Emily soon discovers her own love for poetry, and how much easier it is to express her emotions through written words than to other people. Using her poetry to deal with her past, Emily attempts to accept life and move on. 

It's no surprise that my favorite part of this book was how inspired it was by Emily Dickinson. I loved how Emily was so infatuated with Emily Dickinson, and shared so much about the poet's life and how it connected to her own life. Then, the poems that Emily shared were so beautiful. I don't know how Jenny Hubbard did it, but boy can she write a good poem. I loved how the poems weren't too overwhelming and captured exactly what Emily was going through or thinking about at the time. 

Like a lot of serious books, there wasn't a whole lot of action going on, just a lot of thinking. I guess that's necessary, though, with how much Emily has to think about what she went through in the last year with her boyfriend's suicide and their relationship. So while some parts were slow, I think that the emotion and relationships Emily forms at school make up for it. Also, I'm not quite sure why this one takes place in 1995, but it works either way. 

In the end, any poetry/literature fan will love the poetry Emily writes and all of the references to Emily Dickinson. If you're in the mood for a serious, yet beautiful book, then you should pick up a copy of And We Stay.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (128)

This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

The Art of Lainey
By Paula Stokes
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Summary: Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame. 

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn't someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn't going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him... 

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what's really worth fighting for.


This one sounds like a super cute YA contemporary that I'm bound to love. I'm excited to see how the girls use The Art of War to win back Lainey's boyfriend. Is she going to win him back? It sounds like it's going to be one interesting summer for those girls!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd NEVER Want to Trade Places With

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week bloggers share a list of books for the prompt given. So hopefully I'll have a new list to share with you all each week! 

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Characters I'd NEVER Want to Trade Places With

Ooooh, this is such a good question! As much as I love reading certain stories about certain characters, there is no way I'd want to live in that world or go through what that character experienced. I'd probably be one of those characters who die in the first page while someone else goes on to be the brave hero in the end. Thank goodness our world is the way it is and not insane like a ton of Dystopian books are. While the guys in the books make it so tempting, I just wouldn't be able to survive living in those worlds. So here are the characters I would never, ever want to trade paces with…

1. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
2. Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Tally from Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

4. American from The Selection by Kiera Cass
5. Mara from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
6. David from Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

7. Sasha from Tandem by Anna Jarzab
8. Isra from Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
9. Ever from Evermore by Alyson Noel

10. Eureka from Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Being Sloane Jacobs
By Lauren Morrill
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Review: I have been absolutely dying to read this book ever since I saw the summary on Goodreads. Not only was it by an author I adored (Meant to Be is SUCH a good read), but also the whole Parent Trap with a sport twist storyline seemed too good to pass up. 

Two girls. Two extremely stressful lives. One identical name. Sloane Emily Jacobs has been posing as the perfect senator's daughter all of her life. But when her mom wants her to get back into figure skating after choking at nationals three years ago, Sloane Emily isn't sure she can really handle it. Sloane Devon Jacobs is on the complete opposite spectrum. With her mom in rehab and her dad struggling to pay the bills, Sloane Devon needs hockey if she wants a chance at going to college. But she can't help but choking every time she goes for a shot, and when her flaring temper gets the best of her yet again, her coach orders her to go to hockey camp or else she's benched next season. On their way to their respective camps, the two Sloanes meet and decide to switch places. Little do they know, switching lives may be just what they need to fix what they set out to solve in the first place. 

Oh my gosh, this book was just so fun. I loved the idea that these two girls share the same name, yet come from completely different backgrounds. When they decide to switch, their stubborn personalities start to soften and they find themselves changing for the better, which is exactly what they needed in their stressful lives at the moment. You really get inside of the head of each girl and want them both to succeed in trying out a life that is so different from their own. 

And let's not forget about the sport aspect! It's no secret I love books with sports in them, so it was really cool how Sloane Devon was a hockey player and Sloane Emily was a figure skater. And where there's hockey, there's boys! I absolutely loved the two guys that find their way into each Sloane's life and how they learn so much about themselves as they attempt to have relationships so outside of what they're used to. 

In the end, this was a fantastic YA read that's a breath of fresh air. I haven't read anything like Being Sloane Jacobs, and it was absolutely perfect. Alternating between the girls kept things interesting and the romance was definitely exciting. Lauren Morrill hits the nail on the head yet again with the perfect YA contemporary. Any fan of YA needs to check out Lauren's latest release as soon as they can. You're in for some lovable characters in a fantastic novel.

Weekly Roundup [1/21-1/27]

Guess where I'm sitting right now? My apartment at school! That's right, my 6 week long winter break is finally over and I'm back at school, ready for my second semester as a college junior. Is it really halfway through my junior year already? Time just flies by! Before I know it, I'll be graduating from college and looking for a real job. Scary! But I am definitely excited for my classes this semester! I'm even taking one about YA Lit, which is basically my life, so it should be awesome. Over the next couple of days, though, another polar vortex is supposed to come through with super cold temperatures that are below zero, so we'll see if campus is still open. All I know is that with this weather, I'm perfectly content bundled up with a warm mug of hot cocoa and my latest read :)

Book Reviews
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Indigo by Gina Linko 
Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton
Changing the Game by Jaci Burton


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Changing the Game
By Jaci Burton
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Source: Own Copy
Summary: Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren't most people....

Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin's more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz's way to see just how far she's truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

Review: This book has been sitting on my Nook for so long and I've just been dying to read it. I'm a huge fan of sports romances and by the looks of this cover, I knew I was in for one steamy read. 

Liz takes no prisoners when it comes to her job. As a female sports agent, Liz has to be a hard-headed, determined woman in order to be successful. But one day she takes it too far and loses a client who happens to be the brother of another client of hers, baseball player Gavin Riley. But to Liz, Gavin is much more than a client. She's had a thing for him ever since she met him, and now she doesn't know if everything is ruined. When Liz finally has to confront Gavin about the issue, Gavin starts to see past her hard exterior to the soft, very feminine woman underneath. But when things start to heat up, their relationship starts to get serious for Liz while it all seems to be a game to Gavin. Can Gavin leave his games for the ball field and really start to fall for Liz too? 

This story was so promising. While the romance and relationship was definitely there, the characters just lacked depth and personality. It seems like all Gavin and Liz did was sleep together and work. And that's it. What did they like to do in their spare time? How did they act around their friends? I don't know! And it seemed like all they ever did was sleep together. In romances, I'd like to have an actual story line that balanced out the physical side of the relationship instead of the storyline being a side note. 

Other than the lack of balance between the physical relationship and the plot, I actually really enjoyed this one. The characters were great and I loved Gavin. I haven't read the first book in this series where Liz royally messes up with Gavin's brother, so I had not seen her hard, cold personality. Because of that, I didn't really get how she was seen as such a unemotional person because she was definitely emotional and vulnerable in this one. Either way, I understood how her opening up with Gavin was way out of her character and comfort zone. 

Overall, Changing the Game was a juicy sports romance with an even jucier man. Now that I've read yet another Jaci Burton novel that definitely did not disappoint  I'm excited to read even more of her romances. I can't wait to pick up the other books in this series and see what other athletes can steal my heart.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (85)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what they got throughout the week!

From Publisher
Words can't even begin to describe how excited I was to get these books this week. A box of the first five of these was waiting on my front stoop on Tuesday, and WOW. Could I have gotten a better package? I'm most excited for Being Sloane Jacobs and And We Stay. I've had my eye on those two for awhile, and now I actually have my own copy! I'm going to dig into those two as soon as I can!

From the library
As a huge Jane Austen fan, I love finding contemporary books that are spin offs or inspired by her books. I saw that this one had recently come out, and it sounds absolutely adorable! I can't wait for the chance to read this one :)

That's it for me! What did you all add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Follow My Book Blog Friday (120)

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Question: What books are you looking forward to reading in 2014?

Answer: What books am I NOT excited to read in 2014? Seriously, there are so many good ones coming out and I can't wait. Here's a short list of the ones I'm most excited for

1. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
2. Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton
3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

4. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith
5. Fall From India Palace by Samantha Young
6. Alienated by Melissa Landers

7. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
8. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
9. Now & Forever by Susane Colasanti

10. Second Star by Alyssa B Sheinmel
11. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
12. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
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